Sunday, February 19, 2017

On Becoming Useful

It's been over a year since I changed jobs and work schedules. I had ambitious plans to use my new "free time" for all kinds of good:

  • to volunteer
  • to take courses
  • to socialize more
  • to explore
  • to somehow be 'more'

I'm not there yet. There've been some small accomplishments, but I haven't moved the earth. 

In the first months of the new schedule, deep in an Edmonton winter, I organized and deep cleaned many of our cupboards. 

In late winter and early spring I set up indoor grow lights and started a bunch of veg seeds. I spent the spring, summer and fall caring for resulting plants and figuring out what to do with their produce. 

We hosted a few 'Sunday Fundays' in our back yard, social events with a few friends, some good eats and great company.

We've managed to go out, with others, to live music more than a handful of times over the last year. 

I made a photo book for #1 son, a couple years later than I'd planned, to celebrate his first 25 years.

I finally got around to volunteering before Christmas, but just for a couple of hours one week. Not quite the impact I was hoping to make. 

And I managed to sign up for a one day Ladies Learning Code workshop in January. Also not quite the influx of new knowledge I'd envisioned. 

On days like today, where I have a whole day and nothing planned, I feel useless. Restless. Bored. And yet, I could fill the day with laundry, errands, cooking. Or I could turn on my scanner and actually tackle the huge, daunting task of scanning the rest of the paper prints piled high on my credenza. 

I think I'm not there yet because I haven't found the right thing. The thing that I can get all crazy passionate about. That I'd be willing to spend as much time with as I do with photography, gardening and finding new recipes for the Instant Pot. What's THE THING? How will I find it? Where is it hiding?

Is it growing food for the family, as environmentally friendly as I can, going to move the earth? 
Is reducing the amount of stuff we buy, the amount of trash we produce, the amount of food we waste, going to move the earth? 

Is finding a volunteer opportunity helping someone new to Edmonton or Canada feel at home here going to move the earth? Or teaching others to grow their own food? Or teaching kids about the wonder of species in their own backyards? 

Do I need to move the earth, or do I only need to move myself, a little bit forward, a little step each day?

1 comment:

Ceci said...

With due consideration, I think your last line says it all. If each of us did even a tiny bit, a small step, each day for the betterment of, if not the whole world, at least our world, what a truly wonderful and magical place it would be.

I officially retired a little over a year ago - although I still do odd bits of work. Much of my time may seem wasted to others. I play with and train (not overly successfully) my dog. I sit and talk with my husband. I try to spend face to face time with living, breathing friends. And I keep in touch electronically or by phone with others. I'm slowly learning that these things, plus trying to be good to or help others as I can, is enough. Did I move the earth? Nope, just a small mountain of snow. But even most of the snow moved itself by melting today when the sun came out and the temperature rose above the dreaded zero mark.

Yep, little by little accomplishes much!